Obscura - Akroasis
Technical Death / Progressive Metal
That fretless bass. Among the many things that technical death metal band Obscura does well (and there are many), the incorporation of fretless bass stands out as a particularly bold choice. Even more amazing is how well it works. Oftentimes in heavier styles of music such as death metal the bass is drowned out behind layers of crushing guitar riffs and pounding drums. The production on Akroasis, though still heavy, allows the bass a lot of breathing room, resulting in an almost jazzy vibe. Listening to opener Sermon of the Seven Suns exemplifies this strong sense of space. Both guitar and bass get moments to shine and solo while the drums cycle through a series of different grooves, all of which gives the music a decidedly progressive feel. Hell, the vocals are even occasionally processed through a vocoder! So cool. Any fans of technical or progressive metal should love this. The only hiccup comes with the last track, the plodding 15-minute Weltseele which overstays its welcome. Regardless, technical metal doesn’t get much better than this, and the inclusion of non-genre elements (fretless bass, vocoders, speed and power metal-influenced solos) makes it all the more interesting.